Synopsis: April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.
Release Date: October 17, 2014 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): War, Action
The tagline to Oliver Stone’s 1986 Vietnam War movie Platoon is “the first casualty of war is innocence.” This statement could apply to just about any war movie, but it is especially descriptive of Fury.
Fury stars Brad Pitt (Moneyball) as Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier, a tank commander in Germany at the tail end of World War II. During one particularly rough mission, the tank’s assistant driver is killed and Collier is assigned a replacement: a fresh-faced typist named Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman from The Perks of Being a Wallflower) from the clerical pool who has never even loaded a gun before. Norman joins Collier and the rest of his crew – driver ‘Gordo’ Garcia (End of Watch‘s Michael Pena), gunner Grady Travis (John Bernthal from “The Walking Dead”), and turret man Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan (Shia LeBeouf from Nymphomaniac Vol:1) – as they embark on a mission across Germany, fighting enemy tanks and securing towns for the Allies. Along the way, the crew is tried and tested, and Norman is forced to see and do things that are straight out of his worst nightmares.
Fury was written and directed by David Ayer (End of Watch, Sabotage), and it’s got the same raw realism that can be found in his other work. Like many war films, Fury has a lot of brutal imagery. Some soldiers have their heads blown off by tank fire and others get stabbed in the face with bayonets. There are plenty of other scenes that are just as disturbing, only in a much more subtle way; as the crew gets further into Nazi Germany, they encounter soldiers that are barely out of training pants, wearing ill-fitting uniforms but still harvesting the evil looks of the SS in their young eyes. In a film where the main antagonist is an entire country, Fury does a great job of demonizing the enemy.
As a war movie, Fury is as formulaic as they come, dealing with the same themes and ideas that audiences have seen time and time again. The characters are all archetypes: the grizzled commander, the god-fearing preacher, the green new kid. Heck, the skeleton of the plot is basically Saving Private Ryan set in a tank. The character of Norman is similar to that of Charlie Sheen’s character in Platoon; He experiences a reluctant loss of innocence as Collier has to physically force him to kill his first German soldier. The fact that Fury feels familiar does not detract from its effectiveness; it is a very well made film that has a lot to say about human nature and the evil that men do. If Fury was set during a different war, a more modern one like Iraq or Afghanistan, it would probably anger people who don’t want to see the seedy underbelly of war. With time comes healing, and the World War II setting just enables Fury to be an entertaining movie, despite the heavy subject matter.
The ensemble cast in Fury is great. Brad Pitt has proven his acting ability in the past, and he does it again in Fury; this is a more serious role for him, without the slightest trace of Lieutenant Aldo Raine from Inglourious Basterds, and Pitt nails it. The yin to Pitt’s yang is Logan Lerman, the innocent opposite to Pitt’s battle-hardened officer, and he is equally effective. John Bernthal and Michael Pena are both believable in their roles as well. The real wildcard in the cast is Shia LeBeouf. Audiences never know which LeBeouf is going to show up, the campy douche from the Transformers movies or the skilled performer from Lawless. Luckily for audiences, LeBeouf brings the latter to Fury; he is convincing as the bible-thumping artillery master, and his performance is the feather in the cap of the entire cast.
Although it may be a human story, the excitement in Fury lies within the action scenes. The combat segments are simultaneously chaotic and suspenseful, with hell breaking out under very unpredictable circumstances. The sequences are very well constructed from an editing standpoint, switching from the claustrophobic confines of inside the tank to the vulnerable openness of the battlefield, letting the viewer experience both sides of the conflict. What’s interesting about the battle scenes is that there are strategic breaks in the fighting that give the audience a chance to regroup before the fighting starts up again. It’s a very effective game of tension and release, and it makes for some very cinematic moments. A war film is often remembered for its battle scenes, and Fury has a ton of great ones.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): David Ayer
- Screenwriter(s): David Ayer
- Cast: Brad Pitt (Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier)Shia LaBeouf (Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan)Logan Lerman (Norman Ellison) Michael Pena (Trini ‘Gordo’ Garcia)Jon Bernthal (Grady ‘Coon-Ass’ Travis)
- Editor(s): Jay Cassidy
- Cinematographer: Roman Vasyanov
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score: Steven Price
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA